Thompson returned to the team last month after rehabbing two back-to-back major injuries. While he has been able to slide back into the starting lineup and brought an immediate boost to the offense, Thompson admitted this week that there’s still some work before he is back at 100 percent, especially on the defensive side.
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Thompson Still Working His Way Back
Speaking to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater this week, Thompson said he may have been a little overly excited to get back, and has been leaning on head coach Steve Kerr to help him keep an even pace.
“First game was easy because the adrenaline was so high. I think the last 10 games, my numbers shooting-wise have been going up,” Thompson said. “I want to come out shooting it like I know I’m capable. But who can do that after two-and-a-half years off from an NBA game? …Steve (Kerr) helped me a lot. He told me to breath and allow myself to make errors.”
Thompson’s eagerness to get back to the court was evident in the weeks before he actually suited up. After a November win over the Portland Trail Blazers, Thompson remained on the bench for close to 30 minutes, a towel draped over his head as he became overcome with emotion. After the game, teammate Steph Curry said that Thompson had been through so much over the last two-and-a-half years and the feelings were catching up to him.
There is still more work to do, as Thompson told Slater there are some things his body just isn’t ready to do yet.
“I think I’m at like 80 percent,” Thompson said. “Still have a long way to go. But 80 percent me is still great on that side of the ball. I can use my strength to body guys, my size to body smaller guards. Be solid against big men. I can still switch. But as far as my lateral quickness, it’s about — from where it was — it’s about 80, 85 percent from where it was. I know it’ll take time to come back. There will be bumps in the road.”
While there may be more room to grow on the defensive side, Thompson has already regained his scoring touch. He is averaging 17.1 points in 16 games, adding 3.8 rebounds and what would be a career-high 3.1 assists per game.
Thompson Gains New Perspective
While there may be some frustration over the work that still remains, Thompson said his long ordeal in battling back from an ACL tear and a torn Achilles has given him a new outlook about the sport he loves.
“I have a whole new perspective on what failing really is,” he said. “It’s not missed shots. It’s not getting blown by. It’s the effort and energy and joy you play with. If you do that, you don’t really fail. If you do those three things nightly, you can live with making mistakes, getting dunked on, getting your shot pinned, getting blown by on defense. That’s what failure is to me, not giving yourself that opportunity with great effort every night.”